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CONTRACTING FOR GOVERNMENT SERVICES: THEORY AND EVIDENCE FROM U.S. CITIES -super-

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  • JONATHAN LEVIN
  • STEVEN TADELIS

Abstract

Local governments can provide services with their own employees or by contracting with private or public sector providers. We develop a model of this 'make-or-buy' choice that highlights the trade-off between productive efficiency and the costs of contract administration. We construct a dataset of service provision choices by U.S. cities and identify a range of service and city characteristics as significant determinants of contracting decisions. Our analysis suggests an important role for economic efficiency concerns, as well as politics, in contracting for government services. Copyright 2010 The Authors. The Journal of Industrial Economics 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. and the Editorial Board of The Journal of Industrial Economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Levin & Steven Tadelis, 2010. "CONTRACTING FOR GOVERNMENT SERVICES: THEORY AND EVIDENCE FROM U.S. CITIES -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 507-541, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jindec:v:58:y:2010:i:3:p:507-541
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1997. "Privatization in the United States," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(3), pages 447-471, Autumn.
    2. Bajari, Patrick & Tadelis, Steven, 2001. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 387-407, Autumn.
    3. Mildred Warner & Robert Hebdon, 2001. "Local Government Restructuring: Privatization and Its Alternatives," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 315-336.
    4. Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1996. "A Theory of Privatisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 309-319, March.
    5. Steven Tadelis, 2002. "Complexity, Flexibility, and the Make-or-Buy Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 433-437, May.
    6. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1127-1161.
    7. Trevor L. Brown & Matthew Potoski, 2003. "Managing contract performance: A transaction costs approach," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 275-297.
    8. repec:hrv:faseco:30727607 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:hrv:faseco:30727606 is not listed on IDEAS
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